Blaze Pizza LLC sold a significant stake to Brentwood Associates, giving the fast-casual chain a value of more than $100 million. Started by Rick and Elise Wetzel in 2011, Blaze has exploded in growth and just opened its 200th location today, making it the fastest growing restaurant company in history, according to industry researcher Technomic Inc. The chain, which plans to expand into the Middle East and Northern Africa, is on pace to exceed $1 billion in annual sales before its 10th birthday in 2022.
James, who first invested in Blaze in 2012, owns about 10% of the company. The chain, known for its distinctive custom-made 11-inch pizzas, hopes to go public in the next three years, a source tells Bloomberg.